Pubdate: Wed, 31 Dec 2014
Source: Metro Times (Detroit, MI)
Copyright: 2014 C.E.G.W./Times-Shamrock
Author: Larry Gabriel
Column: Higher Ground


It had to happen sooner or later as marijuana legalization makes its 
way across the planet. As the plant gets commoditized, some of the 
world's great stoners will lend their names to products associated with it.

There is probably no stoner more well-known than reggae superstar Bob 
Marley. He was shown smoking a big spliff on the cover of his Catch a 
Fire album in 1973, long before almost anyone was willing to be 
publicly identified with marijuana. Marley's family has entered into 
an agreement with Privateer Holdings, a private equity firm in the 
marijuana market, to develop Marley Natural products. The brand will 
market heirloom Jamaican strains such as the legendary Lambs Bread, 
as well as lotions, creams, and other accessories.

"My husband believed 'the herb' was a natural and positive part of 
life," Rita Marley, Bob's wife and I-Threes singer, stated in a press 
release announcing the agreement.

While Wailer Peter Tosh is the one who recorded "Legalize It" - "and 
I will advertise it" - it looks like Marley's brand will be the one 
taking it to the new level. Those who will advertise it are all 
around us today. Comedian Bill Maher reminds us how much he loves 
weed, seemingly every chance he gets. Not only will he advertise it, 
there might not be any left for the rest of us after he blows through the room.

Comedians Cheech and Chong, also among those who openly associated 
themselves with the herb before it was cool (or safe), broached the 
idea of marijuana advertising long ago with their classic routine 
about "Acapulco Gold Filters" - "No stems no seeds that you don't 
need, Acapulco Gold is (loud inhale, deep voice) some badass weed."

Harold and Kumar are the contemporary equivalent characters with 
their own crazy movies about stoners, but Cheech and Chong put 
themselves out there way more than just acting like stoners. In fact 
Tommy Chong, whose film career just didn't go as far as Cheech 
Marin's, actually sold a line of pipes and bongs known as Chong 
Glass. He also went to jail on a nine-month sentence after pleading 
guilty to conspiring to distribute drug paraphernalia. Chong also 
reportedly used hemp oil to help beat his prostate cancer. He's 
definitely still on board with the herb. Will he soon be marketing 
Chong's Prostate Pills?

On the other hand, Kumar's Kush seems to have a natural ring to it.

Now here is a cool brand. Rocker Melissa Etheridge is throwing her 
guitar into the ring and developing her own cannabis-infused wine. 
Etheridge has been open about her use of marijuana to lessen the side 
effects of chemotherapy while battling breast cancer. Now that she is 
cancer-free, she sees an opportunity to tap into the market. 
Etheridge says her new business venture is "a huge opportunity" to 
break into a relatively new market. There are already a number of 
cannawines for sale on the West Coast but none with the marketing 
edge of Etheridge's name and history with marijuana. Her song "Bring 
Me Some Water" might be ready for a little revision to help out with 
the advertising.

This is just the beginning of the boom in cannabis products, whether 
for recreation or medicinal. The cannabinoid CBD is suddenly very 
popular for its medical properties and that it is not psychoactive. 
It's been touted for its effectiveness in treating pediatric epilepsy 
and as a component of cancer therapy. Since it doesn't get you high 
there are plenty of open doors welcoming products containing it. A 
bunch of companies have come out with CBD oils and salves, and claim 
that it is legal in all 50 states. That's because they say they are 
extracting CBD from legally imported hemp. Regardless of where it's 
coming from, it's being put in acne treatments, salves, skin creams, and more.

That kind of makes sense because when Rick Simpson created his hemp 
oil he used it to treat his own skin cancer and numerous skin 
ailments of others. It took a while before one of his patients 
thought to eat the stuff. Now everybody and their brother are making 
some kind of hemp oil. While that has worked for many people with 
severe illnesses, the big money will be in products that have mass 

"There is going to be a huge amount of CBD in all sorts of products," 
says Martin Lee, director of Project CBD, a nonprofit focused on the 
trendy cannabinoid. "It will be like spirulina in the health food 
fad. .. You'll see synthetic CBD around that drug companies will be 
making. How people will use this therapeutically is not obvious at 
this point. Several companies are eyeing distributing CBD in all 50 
states. It is widespread and fairly easily available."

Lee cautions consumers to be careful with what CBD products they are 
using. A report titled Hemp Oil Hustlers can be found on the Project 
CBD website.

Another avenue that just opened up is for Native American brands. The 
federal Department of Justice recently announced that Native 
Americans can grow or sell marijuana on their reservations. 
Non-Indians can buy at these sites. While some tribes have already 
said they don't want to add marijuana to the substance abuse problems 
they face (maybe they need a little education here), others are 
considering it. Should we be anticipating marketing of products such 
as Sitting Bull Buds, Crazy Horse Hemp or Pocahontas Pot? Or how 
about simply Native Natural? I'm not trying to be offensive to 
anybody, but once the marketing people get hold of this it's going to 
be over the top.

Vaporizers have become popular among marijuana users and Oxford 
Dictionaries has named "vape" the word of the year. While vape pens 
are also popular for smoking tobacco, the San Francisco Chronicle 
aptly referred to the practice as "tech savvy toking." Nobody I know 
refers to tobacco smoking as toking. There has to be someone out 
there selling vaporizers who's ready to use the phrase "What's the 
Word" in their advertising.

It's way easy to slap a marijuana leaf on some gear and folks have 
been doing it for years. But now there's so much stuff. You can get a 
marijuana thong  though it's probably not made of hemp. Do you think 
Victoria's Secret wants to come out with a line of Tricky Vicky 
lingerie? Each pair of panties will have a little pouch in it to hold a blunt.

Legendary toker Willie Nelson can start the Willie Weed line of 
monogrammed good ol' boy boxers that will be made of hemp and last forever.

Snoop Dog has built a career around his stoner image. Is Snoop up to 
the challenge of taking his marketing to another level? Will Rihanna 
come out with the boob bong? Maybe Miley Cyrus will partner with her 
for that project.

Here's the ultimate: How about when President Obama is on his way out 
of office, he reschedules marijuana by presidential decree. Then he 
goes back to Hawaii to market his own Obama Choom Gang Ganja, with 
the Funkadelic title "Free your mind and your ass will follow."
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